Jakarta (ANTARA) - Deputy Finance Minister Suahasil Nazara reaffirmed the government's determination to maintain the stability of commodity prices in markets following the decision to raise fuel prices.

"We hope (the increase in) energy prices will not affect the prices of other commodities," Nazara stated at the Parliament Complex here, Monday.

He explained that the increase in fuel prices might be causal to the price hike in other commodities, including of items of basic need, which might reach their highest level in the first and second months and will recede only in the third month after the fuel price hike.

To address the residents' grievances and maintain purchasing power, the government has adopted various measures, the deputy minister noted.

He remarked that the government had set aside Rp27.14 trillion (US$1.61 billion) for social assistance to divert the fuel subsidy to maintain the residents' purchasing power affected by the commodity price surge.

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The social assistance package comprises Rp12.4 trillion (US$830 million) of direct fuel cash assistance (BLT) that will be distributed to some 20.65 million beneficiary recipients. BLT recipients will receive a sum of Rp300 thousand (US$20.1) twice in September and December 2022.

In addition, the government has readied Rp9.6 trillion (US$643 million) to provide wage subsidy of Rp600 thousand (US$40.2) for 16 million workers receiving less than Rp3.5 million (US$234.5) wage per month.

The government will also authorize the distribution of additional social benefits for residents and the regional transportation sector supplied by regional authorities setting aside a share of the general transfer fund (DTU).

Earlier, the government, on Saturday (September 3), raised the price of subsidized Pertalite (RON 90) fuel to Rp10 thousand (US$0.67) per liter, from the earlier price of Rp7,650 (US$0.51); Solar (diesel) fuel to Rp6,800 (US$0.45) per liter, from Rp5,150 (US$0.34); and non-subsidized Pertamax (RON 92) fuel, from Rp12,500 (US$0.83) to Rp14,500 (US$20.97) per liter.

President Joko Widodo said that increasing fuel prices was the government's last option. He noted that the state budget should be prioritized to provide subsidies to the underprivileged, and at this time, the government must take decisions in difficult situations.
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Translator: Astrid FH, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Suharto
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